Dominance and Reverse Dominance

 One of my objectives in writing this blog as outlined in the AMENDING HAIDT section above is to change two of Haidt’s Moral Foundations Liberty/Oppression and Authority/Subversion to

Reverse Dominance……………………………Dominance/Authority

Reverse Dominance and Authority/Dominance are conceived as an oppositional spectrum rather than weak to strong. I posit that people are not weak on Reverse Dominance but rather they either are Reverse Dominant or they are not. I believe that Reverse Dominance is moral foundation or at least valorized emotionally. I hope to in the blog adduce a mountain of evidence for this.

Similarly I believe Haidt’s conception of respect for Authority is a moral foundation but there is in Conservative politics a strong streak of social dominance and this is at least valorized.

Reverse Dominance has several names, sticking it to the boss, anti-authoritarianism, in Germany it is called anti-Fuehrer syndrome and in the former Soviet Union ironically, a state founded on the revolution against authority, its psychiatrists under pressure from KGB discovered an anti-state mentality and pathologised it in a cruel and criminal way.

In the famous political science paper Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition the several authors contend that social dominance based on an expectation of respect for authority is a feature of political thought. I hold here that Dominance and respect for Authority are moral foundations which like Reverse Dominance you either have or you don’t, you cannot be weakly reverse dominant and weakly dominant. These foundations are different from all the others in that they represent and oppositional spectrum.

See the image

reverse+dominance+picture (1)

Here is a view of the way in which I think reverse dominance and dominance plays out in political ideologies. The first thing to note is the huge unquantifiable centre ground in this picture, as above I think that people are on the oppositional spectrum but near the middle some place which only roughly correspondents to the political centre ground.

As you move left the reverse dominance component of the politics increases and intensifies displacing the Care/Harm and Fairness foundations until you reach the Anarchists whose politics appear bereft of any sense of social justice, being composed of a wholly anti-authoritarian narrative, one se strong that it famously undermines their organizational ability.

Moving right through Conservatives we meet the monarchists, and interesting group as they embody the notion dominate individuals acquire moral authority via high social rank. See Majesty Magazine for evidence of the continued valorization of Kings and Queens. Carrying on up the right hand side you arrive at the supreme expression of the notion that Authority carries moral purpose, one which usurps and transcends the normal commonsense meaning of the word morality. Hand in hand with that is the determination that authority ought to dominate everything.

Haidt added the Liberty/Oppression foundation under the influence of Christopher Boehm’s Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behaviour as he describes in the Righteous Mind.  Bhoem’s book argues that dominance hierarchies are a key component of our primate heritage but that all socially dominant primates faced a coalition of males wanting their overthrow, leading to a continual dominant/reverse dominate strain in human social life. I had long been convinced of the influence of Reverse Dominance as a major factor in left politics based on my observation of liberals over a long time; indeed I suspect the structure to possibly be that via Reverse Dominance we get to Care/Harm reduction and Fairness so salient is Reverse Dominance in left/liberal politics.

One response

  1. Couldn’t agree more, the penny dropped when I saw an advert for a university “we are experts in the transfer of knowledge” as ‘teaching’ is obviously too authoritarian. I don’t suppose there have been many times in recent history when a trust culture has lasted for such a sustained period of time and this has allowed the reverse dominance culture to become so, well, dominant, and who would have thought that the ‘equality’ and ‘fraternity’ factions would give ‘liberty’ such a kicking…

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